The Cook's Wedding and Other Stories
"VOLODYA'S come!" someone shouted in the yard.
"Master Volodya's here!" bawled Natalya the cook, running into the dining-room. "Oh,
The whole Korolyov family, who had been expecting their Volodya from hour to hour,
rushed to the windows. At the front door stood a wide sledge, with three white horses in a
cloud of steam. The sledge was empty, for Volodya was already in the hall, untying his
hood with red and chilly fingers. His school overcoat, his cap, his snowboots, and the hair
on his temples were all white with frost, and his whole figure from head to foot diffused
such a pleasant, fresh smell of the snow that the very sight of him made one want to
shiver and say "brrr!"
His mother and aunt ran to kiss and hug him. Natalya plumped down at his feet and
began pulling off his snowboots, his sisters shrieked with delight, the doors creaked and
banged, and Volodya's father, in his waistcoat and shirt-sleeves, ran out into the hall with
scissors in his hand, and cried out in alarm:
"We were expecting you all yesterday? Did you come all right? Had a good journey?
Mercy on us! you might let him say 'how do you do' to his father! I am his father after
"Bow-wow!" barked the huge black dog, Milord, in a deep bass, tapping with his tail on
the walls and furniture.
For two minutes there was nothing but a general hubbub of joy. After the first outburst of
delight was over the Korolyovs noticed that there was, besides their Volodya, another
small person in the hall, wrapped up in scarves and shawls and white with frost. He was
standing perfectly still in a corner, in the shadow of a big fox-lined overcoat.
"Volodya darling, who is it?" asked his mother, in a whisper.
"Oh!" cried Volodya. "This is--let me introduce my friend Lentilov, a schoolfellow in the
second class. . . . I have brought him to stay with us."
"Delighted to hear it! You are very welcome," the father said cordially. "Excuse me, I've
been at work without my coat. . . . Please come in! Natalya, help Mr. Lentilov off with
his things. Mercy on us, do turn that dog out! He is unendurable!"